Night Weaning vs. Sleep Training: Which Should Come First?

Night Weaning Sleep Training

For many of the exhausted families with whom we work, night weaning and sleep training are both high on the list of priorities. After all, constant night feeds can exhaust even the strongest parents, and a baby who can’t fall asleep independently is one who will wake too early from a nap, or wake during the night due to sleep associations, and not out of true hunger.

So yeah…when it comes to night weaning and sleep training, most parents would say, “Both, please!”. But this raises an interesting question – should one come before the other? Our team of consultants discussed this question recently, and we thought you’d really enjoy getting a peek into their answers!

Keep reading to learn which you should work on first: night weaning or sleep training!

Night Weaning vs. Sleep Training: Usually, Sleep Training Comes First

Let’s cut right to the chase: typically, we recommend working on sleep training first. When our team of consultants create Personalized Sleep Plans™ for the families with whom they work, they typically put night weaning after sleep training in the day-by-day section of the plan. Why? Because when a baby is able to fall asleep independently, without needing any help from mom or dad in the form of sleep associations, most families find that night waking decreases dramatically, and that some of the “night feedings” (that were actually just plain old night wakings) disappear on their own.

See, when a baby knows how to fall asleep without help at bedtime, or at the start of a nap, then he can go BACK to sleep when he wakes at night between sleep cycles (and doesn’t need a feeding), or in the middle of a nap. So if your baby is in the habit of waking frequently at night, odds are many of those night wakings will disappear via the process of sleep training.

Then, once you’ve worked on helping your baby learn to fall asleep independently at bedtime, and when you’ve worked on helping your baby fall back to sleep independently after night wakings, you can start to work on the process of night weaning, IF you and your baby are ready to drop feedings.

For more information on sleep coaching your baby, check out these resources:

Night Weaning vs. Sleep Training: 4 Times To Try Night Weaning BEFORE Sleep Training

While most families do best starting with sleep training and then moving on to night weaning – but in some situations, it’s actually best to reverse that process and start with night weaning first. Those situations include…

  1. …medical reasons. In some rare situations, parents are faced with a medical scenario in which they have to wean from breastfeeding immediately. For instance, we’ve worked with moms who, after a cancer diagnosis, have to wean before undergoing chemotherapy. In situations like these (and depending on baby’s age), it usually makes sense to wean from night feedings while you’re in the process of weaning to formula (if your child is 12 months or younger and still needs formula). Of course, if your baby still needs 1 or more age-based night feedings, keep those – but this is a great time to work on reducing any unnecessary night feedings.
  2. …a toddler who wakes ONLY for 1-2 feedings a night. While some toddlers have serious sleep problems, we’ve worked with many toddler families whose only real problem was one or two night feedings that they wished to get rid of. In these cases, the toddlers usually fall asleep fine at bedtime, wake up to feed once or twice, go right back to sleep on their own, and then sleep until morning. In cases like these, since there are no real sleep problems aside from the night feedings, it makes sense to work on gradually night weaning.
  3. …families who want to continue sharing a bed. We see this fairly often – attachment families who want to continue to share a family bed want to reduce or eliminate night feedings, but don’t want to transition baby to a crib. In these cases, what the parents want is a period of sustained sleep without feedings, so it makes sense to start with night weaning, and to teach baby to fall back to sleep without going to the breast. To do this, we usually create a special bed-sharing day-by-day plan that teaches mom and dad how to gradually help baby fall back to sleep after a night waking without needing to nurse.
  4. …babies who are always fed during every night waking. Now, this one is less sure-fire than the other 3, as it can be hard to distinguish exactly when night feeding has become a deeply-ingrained habits. But simply put, if you ALWAYS feed your baby EVERY time she wakes, then you may want to start offering other forms of comfort during night wakings, before you start actually sleep training. As one of our consultants put it, “If a family has never, ever tried offering a pacifier at 2 a.m. instead of a feeding, or simply holding and patting the baby, instead of feeding, then we usually start off trying that.” Honestly, you’d be amazed at how just this small change to the usual routine can help decrease night wakings, and can provide a great start to sleep coaching!

For more information about night weaning your baby, take a look at these resources:

Sleep Training? Night Weaning? We Can Help With Both!

Sleep coaching can be tough enough on its own – but if you are also working on night weaning, then you may have more than you can cope with on your own! That’s where our team of consultants can help. Our consultants at The Baby Sleep Site® specialize in creating Personalized Sleep Plans™ that are customized to your own parenting philosophy, and that will NEVER make you feel guilty or pressured. Your plan will include everything you need to know about how to help you baby sleep through the night, and how to wean your baby from night feeding. Even better, once you have your Personalized Sleep Plan™, your consultant will walk you through each step of implementing it at home.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Questions about sleep training and night weaning? Ask below! Tips or suggestions for other parents about how to night wean or sleep train? Share them with us!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
 
Essential Keys to Newborn Sleep Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is THE newborn sleep book that will help you to not only improve your newborn’s sleep using gentle, sleep-inducing routines – it will also answer your feeding and newborn care questions. You can even buy a bundle package that includes the e-book AND a Personalized Sleep Plan™ PLUS a follow-up email to use for further support!
 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.
 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 

Need help knowing where to start? Visit our Help Me Choose page for helping choosing the Baby Sleep Site® resources that are right for you.

The Top 2 Self Soothing Myths BUSTED (We Hate #2!)

Self Soothing Myths

Google the phrase ‘self soothing’, and you know what you’ll find? You’ll find an assortment of the most contradictory articles you can imagine. You’ll find articles offering you tips on how to help your baby learn to self soothe, as well as articles telling you that self soothing is impossible for babies, and that teaching a baby to self soothe will lead to permanent emotional and psychological damage.

Gotta love the internet, right? 😉

But seriously, what’s a well-meaning parent to make of all this? As loving moms and dads, we want the best for our children. So what does that mean for self soothing? Is self soothing a great thing to promote in your home (since a baby who can self soothe is a baby who is on the road to sleeping through the night), or is self soothing dangerous, and something that selfish parents inflict upon their little ones?

Miriam115As usual, we’ve got answers! Miriam Chickering, registered nurse, lactation consultant, and Baby Sleep Site® sleep consultant extraordinaire, is joining us today, sharing her expert wisdom, and helping us to de-bunk 2 of the most common (and most obnoxious!) self soothing myths. Read on for information on why babies CAN, in fact, learn to self soothe, and why helping a baby learn to self soothe isn’t the dangerous, cruel act some would have you believe it is.

MYTH #1: Babies aren’t capable of self soothing.

Not so – babies absolutely can learn gradually, over time, how to soothe themselves! Keep reading for Miriam’s explanation:

“Babies can absolutely self soothe – in fact, babies as young as a week old are capable of sucking on their fists when distressed or hungry. While this can be taken as a hunger cue, this is also the baby’s way of regulating and decreasing stress. It’s an instinctual behavior. But pretty soon, the 3-4 month old baby will, in a very coordinated and deliberate way, suck his fingers to help himself get to sleep. So, on all counts, infants absolutely can decrease their stress without outside help.

So, the question becomes not, ‘Can my baby self soothe?’ but, ‘Does my baby need additional soothing beyond his existing self soothing abilities in order to sleep?’

Now, to answer this more accurate question, we need to first understand the complex factors that lead to good sleep regulation in infants. ‘Behavioral sleep intervention’, or sleep training, is generally not all that effective when used alone, especially in babies 6 months and under. Why? Because in many cases, with young infants, their sleep (or lack thereof) is driven by non-behavioral factors.

See, babies are able to fall asleep more easily if certain conditions are met. For example, your baby will fall asleep more easily if she has a full tummy, is warm (but not too warm), feels safe, and is beginning to feel tired (but not over-tired). None of these factors are part of conventional sleep training methodology (unless, that is, you’re working with my colleagues and me – we’re all about holistic sleep coaching!), but they’re all key components in helping your baby sleep well!

The truth is, your baby’s feeding and sleep schedule, any medical concerns, your bond with your baby, your child’s temperament, and your parenting philosophy ALL play a part in how your baby regulates sleep. Once the conditions are right, and ‘the stage has been set’ for sleep, then and only then should parents address how baby is falling asleep.

What do I mean by how baby is falling asleep? Simply this – think about what your baby needs in order to fall asleep and then stay asleep (I don’t mean stay asleep for 12 hours, necessarily – just stay asleep for a 2 or 3 hour chunk). If your baby wakes often throughout the night, and has a hard time sleeping independently, even after you’ve addressed all the ‘setting the stage’ factors (like schedule, sleeping environment, etc.), then your baby almost certainly has what we call a limiting sleep association. A limiting sleep association is any activity you do that helps your baby fall asleep (and stay asleep) that isn’t sustainable for the entire period of sleep. Think rocking/nursing/patting/holding in arms (after all, we parents aren’t machines who can do these activities indefinitely!). Note that these are different than healthy sleep associations (like having a darkened room, white noise, etc.) – good sleep associations are those things that your child associates with sleep, but that don’t require ongoing work from you throughout the night.

In cases where there is a limiting sleep association present, our job is to gradually wean baby away from the limiting sleep association, and to help baby learn to fall sleep independently. And how does a baby learn to do that? You guessed it…by self soothing to sleep!

Now, I should point out that we do not expect an infant to self soothe the way an older child or adult would. If you consider the ways that you regulate your stress and emotions, it’s obvious that you wouldn’t expect your baby to do the same! And in this way, the ability to self soothe is something that grows and matures as your child grows and matures. However, when the surrounding conditions are favorable, a baby can learn the skill of going to sleep without a limiting sleep association – in other words, a baby can learn to self soothe to sleep.”

MYTH #2: Babies who “self soothe” aren’t really self soothing – they’re just giving up.

Oh, this one really gets our goat…fortunately, it’s not true! Read Miriam’s thoughts on this especially-frustrating myth:

“When people say this, they usually mean that when a baby stops crying after sleep coaching, he hasn’t actually learned how to self soothe and fall asleep independently; rather, he has learned that no one comes when he cries, so he might as well give up and not cry at all. In other words, it is assumed that he has been exposed to a TOXIC amount of stress.

What’s toxic stress, exactly? Toxic stress results from frequent and prolonged abuse and/or neglect. According to Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child, this kind of prolonged activation of the stress response systems can disrupt the development of brain architecture and other organ systems, and increase the risk for stress-related disease and cognitive impairment, well into the adult years.

Scary, right? This myth is especially cruel because it’s downright frightening. Fortunately, you can put your mind at ease, because in loving, healthy families, this simply will not happen.

Now, let me clarify – does toxic stress happen? Yes, when children are exposed to prolonged abuse, neglect, and adult violence. There have actually been a number of studies done over the years that support this concept:

BUT – does toxic stress occur when thoughtful, loving parents adequately ‘set the stage’ for sleep and then take a holistic approach to sleep coaching, and to helping their babies learn to self soothe? According to Harvard and the American Academy of Pediatrics – no! Even if that sleep coaching process involves some crying (for instance, if the parents use a check-and-console approach to helping their baby learn to self soothe and fall asleep independently) – in no way is that child’s controlled crying in a loving, nurturing, supportive environment even remotely similar to a neglected child crying in an abusive, violent environment. To call these two scenarios similar, and to allege that in both cases, the child is experiencing toxic stress, is ludicrous.

So here is the deep, deep flaw that busts this myth: anti-sleep coaching proponents take all of that toxic stress research, and use it to ‘prove’ that sleep coaching is cruel, and that babies don’t actually self soothe, but merely give up and continue to experience emotional and psychological distress. But this is simply not true; if you are teaching your baby to self soothe and fall asleep independently in a loving and nurturing environment, then there is no way that your baby is going to experience toxic stress!

So what’s really happening when sleep coaching works, and a baby learns self soothing? The baby has not been exposed to toxic stress, and has not learned to simply ‘give up'; rather, that child has learned the skill of going to sleep without relying on a limiting sleep association. You, the parents, are now able to sleep because you are not required help your child fall back to sleep every time she wakes.

One last point – lots of the self soothing myth perpetrators claim that even after babies learn to fall asleep independently without crying, they stay stressed. There was a 2012 study that seemed to indicate that babies who were left to cry during sleep training had elevated levels of cortisol – a stress hormone – in their brains. However, this is another myth we need to bust; as I tell all my clients who ask me about it, that study was profoundly flawed. If you’re interested in learning more, this article offers a great analysis of the many flaws in that study.”

Parents, I hope that Miriam’s thoughtful responses to these 2 trouble self soothing myths has set your mind at ease, and has given you confidence in your efforts to help your children sleep well. Here’s the main thing to remember: your baby is a complex and unique little being; for that reason, it’s key that you take a holistic approach to sleep coaching. What’s a holistic approach? It’s one that takes into account ALL the factors that influence your child’s sleep – including feeding, scheduling, sleep environment, health and development, temperament and personality, and more – and address those along with any limiting sleep associations. We at The Baby Sleep Site® are committed to using this kind of holistic approach to sleep with every client we serve – and we can help you begin your journey to holistic sleep coaching, too! Our expert sleep consultants are standing by, ready to get to know your family and your unique situation, and to craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ that’ll help your whole family get the sleep you deserve.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Your turn, parents! We know that this is a touchy subject for some, and we’re eager to hear your thoughts and opinions. Share below, and let’s get the conversation started!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
 
Essential Keys to Newborn Sleep Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is THE newborn sleep book that will help you to not only improve your newborn’s sleep using gentle, sleep-inducing routines – it will also answer your feeding and newborn care questions. You can even buy a bundle package that includes the e-book AND a Personalized Sleep Plan™ PLUS a follow-up email to use for further support!
 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.
 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 

Need help knowing where to start? Visit our Help Me Choose page for helping choosing the Baby Sleep Site® resources that are right for you.

Healthy Sleep Habits: Why Not All Sleep Habits Are Bad

Healthy Sleep Habits

If you’ve been a reader of The Baby Sleep Site® for awhile, then you know a thing or two about sleep associations, don’t you? You’ve no doubt read our sleep association blog post, and have learned all about how certain habits that your baby associates with sleep (like nursing to sleep, or rocking to sleep, or being held during sleep) can cause big, huge sleep problems that affect the whole family.

And you’ve no doubt learned that sleep training is the process of gently weaning your baby away from any negative sleep associations, and teaching your little one how to fall asleep independently, without ongoing help from mom or dad.

But what if I told you that not all sleep associations are bad? Sleep associations tend to get a pretty bad rap, but that’s not necessarily fair. I think when most of us hear ‘sleep habits’, we tend to think about bad habits – but the truth is, good, healthy sleep habits do exist, and what’s more, they are key in helping your baby or toddler sleep well.

Healthy Sleep Habits: How Babies and Toddlers Form Sleep Habits

If one thing is true, it’s that babies and toddlers tend to form habits with lightning-fast speed. Do something consistently enough, for several days in a row, and your little one will come to see that as the norm, and will expect it. We as parents can use this in our favor; it’s this trait in our children that allows us to teach good habits and to build positive character traits. For example, if we consistently require that our child say “please” before we hand them a snack, or help them with a task, then it won’t be long before that child says please habitually.

But this can backfire, too. Sometimes, things that we DON’T want to become habitual actually do – you allow your child to watch TV for 2 hours each morning while he’s sick with the flu, and he comes to expect 2 hours of TV time EVERY morning, even after he’s healthy. And the same goes for sleep – sometimes, we do things that we mean to be temporary (like nursing to sleep after every night waking, or holding the baby for every nap), and then suddenly, BOOM – our child has come to understand that this is standard, and should happen every day (or night).

Good vs. Bad (or Healthy vs. Unhealthy) Sleep Habits

So how can we distinguish healthy sleep habits from unhealthy sleep habits? First, it’s important to remember that there is no “script” for sleep – one family’s huge sleep problems are another family’s norm. And things that some parents consider problematic (like nursing to sleep 5 times a night), other parents don’t mind doing at all – or even do intentionally. So keep in mind that NOTHING about your baby’s sleep is a problem until it’s a problem for you.

Keep in mind also that every baby is different, and that means sleep needs differ from child to child. Your child may be completely rested after 3 or 4 nighttime wakings, or with naps that are on the short side – while another child may be overtired and cranky if even one daytime nap is off.

Now, as for what makes a sleep habit healthy vs. unhealthy – in general (after taking your parenting preferences and your child’s sleep needs and temperament into account), sleep habits that heavily involve you “doing” something tend to be less healthy than sleep associations that require little to no work from you. Here are some examples to illustrate this idea:

  • FEEDING: If your baby needs you to feed him all the way back to sleep after every interrupted waking at night and during naps, that’s probably an unhealthy sleep habit. But if your baby simply needs you to feed him until he’s drowsy, that’s very likely a healthy, manageable sleep habit.
  • ROCKING: Same as above – if you have to rock your baby all the way to sleep every time she wakes, that’s probably unsustainable for you, and therefore is an unhealthy sleep habit. But if you simply need to rock until drowsy, that may very well work for all of you.
  • PACIFIER: If you have to replace the pacifier for your baby every single time it falls out, that’s an unhealthy sleep habit – but if your baby can replace the pacifier himself, and doesn’t need you to help when it falls out in the middle of the night, then the pacifier can actually be a healthy sleep association.
  • COSLEEPING: If you are co-sleeping out of desperation, because it makes it easier to nurse your baby all night long, but you don’t actually WANT to share a bed with your baby, then this is most likely an unhealthy sleep habit. But if you are cosleeping intentionally, and have worked to ensure that both you and your baby are getting enough sleep, then this can be a healthy sleep association.
  • LOVEY: If YOU are your child’s lovey, and that’s standing in the way of you getting the sleep you need, then that’s an unhealthy sleep association – but if your child’s lovey is something like a blanket, or a small stuffed animal, then the lovey is a great sleep association, as it allows you child to soothe and settle without your help.

Why Healthy Sleep Habits Matter

I know that for some of you, what I’m saying here is nothing new. But here’s why this distinction between healthy and unhealthy sleep habits matter: your child will always have sleep habits. There is no such thing as habit-free sleep. So your goal in sleep training is not simply to wean your child away from unhealthy sleep habits and associations – it’s to replace those with healthy sleep habits that allow your child AND you to get more sleep. What exactly those healthy sleep habits look like is, of course, entirely up to you. For instance, some families introduce the pacifier as a healthy sleep habit, while others are working to wean away from it because it’s a negative sleep association. But it’s key to remember that your child will always have habits surrounding sleep – wearing certain jammies, for instance, or doing the bedtime routine in a certain order, or stroking a special blanket before falling asleep.

And really, when you think about the way you fall asleep – is it any surprise that your child needs healthy sleep habits? I don’t know about you, but I have lots of little routines and habits surrounding my own sleep – for instance, I absolutely cannot sleep unless I read for at least 10 minutes before bed. You probably have your own little unique pre-bed habits and rituals as well. True, some of us are probably more habit-driven than others, but even preferring one sleeping position to another, or sleeping on the same side of the bed, is a kind of sleep habit. So is it any wonder that our little ones need the same?

The key is simply to ensure that your baby or toddler’s sleep habits are actually encouraging and helping sleep, and not disrupting it. And if that process is proving daunting or difficult for you, remember – we can help! Our team of expert consultants is ready to offer you compassionate, caring support that is 100% personalized to your unique situation. We will craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ specifically for your family, that walks you through every step of night weaning, in a way that matches your goal and parenting style.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

Tell us about your little one’s sleep habits – healthy or unhealthy? Any tips to share about how to help little one’s build healthy sleep associations? Share them below!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
 
Essential Keys to Newborn Sleep Essential Keys to Your Newborn’s Sleep is THE newborn sleep book that will help you to not only improve your newborn’s sleep using gentle, sleep-inducing routines – it will also answer your feeding and newborn care questions. You can even buy a bundle package that includes the e-book AND a Personalized Sleep Plan™ PLUS a follow-up email to use for further support!
 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.
 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 

The Most Amazing Sleep Stories of 2014 – Family Features from The Baby Sleep Site

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It’s Family Features time again, parents! For the next few weeks, we are taking a look at three families and their amazing sleep stories. Meet Nadia, Yeyin, and Suki – three mamas just like you, who were feeling exhausted and utterly overwhelmed by their babies’ sleep problems. That is, they were feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, until they found The Baby Sleep Site®. Read on, and enjoy these beautiful stories!

Meet Suki, and Hear Her Story!

Suki2Suki’s little guy, Ethan, is just adorable (look at that smile!), but his sleep? Not so adorable! The 4 month sleep regression hit, and things got bad, fast. After a brief attempt at CIO, which failed completely (Ethan AND Suki were crying!), Suki and her husband decided to contact The Baby Sleep Site®. Keep reading to find out what happened next!
 

The Baby Sleep Site: So, Suki, let’s start by hearing from you about what Ethan’s sleep was like before you contacted The Baby Sleep Site® for help.

Suki: In two words? NOT GOOD. Ethan was by no means a perfect sleeper as a newborn, but we expected that. He co-slept with me for the first 2 months, and he fed on demand (I breastfeed) pretty much around the clock. But then, when he was 2 months old, we were able to successfully transition him into a crib. And a few times, Ethan had longer stretches of sleep (about 4-5 hours) at night, after he moved to his crib. So we had hope that things were getting better! Then, the 4 month sleep regression hit.

The Baby Sleep Site: Oh, no – I take it things took a turn for the worst after that? The 4 month sleep regression usually has that effect!

Suki: Suki3Definitely. We had to go back to co-sleeping, for one thing; it was the only way I could get Ethan to sleep. We tried to do everything we could to keep Ethan from forming bad sleep habits that would interfere with his sleep – we tried to put him down drowsy but awake, and to comfort him by patting and rubbing him when he woke up, without picking him up out of his crib, but nothing worked. My Ethan is a persistent little guy and not adaptable AT ALL, so when he woke up, he just got angrier and angrier if we tried to pat him. Same with drowsy but awake – as soon as we’d lay him down, he’d wake up and then get mad if we didn’t pick him up. It was rough!

The Baby Sleep Site: This does sound rough! It must have been hard on you and your husband.

Suki: It was! And to make matters worse, Ethan wouldn’t take a pacifier or a bottle, and he hated being swaddled, so we really were limited in how we could comfort him. AND, his nursing was out of whack – he would eat little meals during the day, and then nurse a whole lot at night. His pediatrician suggested that I space out his daytime feedings to allow for 3 hours between each feeding, but that backfired – it meant that he ended up nursing even more at night!

The Baby Sleep Site: Boy – you and your husband must have been at your wits’ ends!

Suki: Yes, we really were. We actually tried letting him cry, to see if that would help, but it was terrible. He cried for almost an hour, and then I ended up crying, and we just couldn’t do it again. I lean more towards attachment parenting, in many ways, and I knew that we needed a gentler approach that would involve less crying, but I didn’t know how to get there on my end. And my friends and family weren’t much help – they kept telling me that I just had to accept the fact that Ethan was a bad sleeper, and wait for him to outgrow his sleeping habits. This is actually a very common Chinese mentality. But I knew I didn’t want to just “wait” for Ethan to become a better sleeper, so I reached out to The Baby Sleep Site® for help. I had my husband’s support in doing so, but that was it – no one else understood my desire to sleep train. I told my consultant, Shaye, that she and Nicole were my last hope!

The Baby Sleep Site: So what happened after you purchased your consultation package, Suki?

Suki: I received my Personalized Sleep Plan™ quickly, along with a note from Nicole. After lots of hard work, we started to see progress! We managed to move Ethan back into a crib, and we started making progress with his night waking and his daytime schedule (he’d always been really inconsistent in his morning wake time and naps, but Shaye gave us some great tips to work on that).

The Baby Sleep Site: Fantastic!

Suki: Well, yes – but then we had setback. Ethan’s frequent night waking returned; he was up 5-9 times each night again!

The Baby Sleep Site: Bummer – that must have been discouraging! :-( What did you do?

Suki: I let Shaye know right away, and she reassured me that we would work on a plan to deal with the night wakings. That alone brought me so much comfort; I knew Shaye would be there to help me through this setback, just like she’d helped me through the others! And she certainly did – she identified that Ethan was going through his 8/9/10 month sleep regression, and that was likely the reason for his wakings. And she created a new day-by-day plan for me to address his night wakings. And you know what? That did it! I put her suggestions and schedule into practice, and sure enough, Ethan’s sleep began improving!

Suki1Now, Ethan wakes WAY less at night, and his naps have lengthened to the point that each one is over an hour long! Ethan still put up a bit of a fuss at bedtime, and my next task is going to be to work on getting shortening the time between when we put him down for bed, and when he actually falls asleep. But overall, we have made SO much progress.

To be honest, going from waking up 15 times a night, and co-sleeping with him in the same bed (and kicking my husband out) when he was 5 month old before getting help from Shaye and Nicole, to where we are at right now… I can’t thank The Baby Sleep Site® enough! Shaye and Nicole have been a Godsend to me and my family, and now, I am really enjoying every moment as a mom! I know I will not have these precious moments without The Baby Sleep Site®’s help. I think I would still be weeping every night while holding Ethan in my arm if I didn’t decide to get help! Truly, The Baby Sleep Site® has brought happiness and joy to my family!

The Baby Sleep Site: Oh, Suki – this is so wonderful to hear! It means the world to all of us here at The Baby Sleep Site® to hear stories like yours – as our sleep consultants always say, it makes the long work hours worth it. :-) Now, before we wrap up – any parting words for our readers?

Suki: I want to say this, because I’m sure it will resonate with a lot of people reading this: at first, I was really unsure about paying for sleep advice. But I’m soooooooooooo glad that I did it! Ethan has come such a long way, thanks to Shaye and Nicole’s help. I have already referred 4 of my friends to The Baby Sleep Site®, and all of them are now getting enough sleep that we can get together and have some mama dates!

Fantastic, right? Thanks to ongoing support from Shaye and Nicole, and to their ability to personalize the sleep help to fit Suki’s parenting style and Ethan’s sleep need, Suki’s whole family is sleeping better. And you can, too! Remember, you can have your own sleep coaching success story, just like Suki’s – all you have to do is take that first step, and contact us for personalized sleep help today!

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This week, we’re introducing you to Yeyin, a beautiful mom of a beautiful daughter who was exhausted beyond measure when she came to us for help. She had tried everything – everything – she could think of to help little Haera sleep, including turning to a local sleep consultant, but nothing worked. That’s when Yeyin connected with Nicole, who gave her one incredible tip that changed Haera’s sleep immediately…keep reading to learn more!

The Baby Sleep Site: Yeyin, tell us a little bit about your situation before you contacted us for help.

Yeyin: Our daughter Haera was such a bright and beautiful newborn, and despite some issues of my own (I suffered from Post-partum Depression after Me & 1 month Haera KimHaera’s birth) and some sleep issues of Haera’s, by the time she was 5 weeks old, Haera was sleeping on her own. She was also sleeping 4-5 hour stretches at night. We were told that exclusively breastfed babies woke more often at night, but not our baby. When she did wake for a feeding, I could put her straight into the co-sleeper crib and she’d drift off to dreamland. She was sleeping soundly and peacefully. It was such a dream, and we were so happy to be the lucky ones!!

Well, fast-forward 4 weeks later, our 9-week old baby girl suddenly declared she was no longer a sleep-through-the-night baby, and it felt like it happened overnight. She began to wake up every 30 minutes to an hour, and her 4-5 hour stretches turned into 2 hours. Her naps suddenly became 30 minutes on the dot. At first, we thought it was a phase, but her sleep wasn’t getting any better, it was only getting worse.

The Baby Sleep Site: Oh, yes, that sounds familiar – so many families tell us a similar story! Sleep is okay for the first 6 or 8 weeks, and then it all falls apart.

Yeyin: That was sure true for us. Around this time, I started to search the Internet for answers. We never read one book about baby sleep nor did we know that so many even existed! We didn’t think it was something we had to READ about. We didn’t know baby sleep was any different from our sleep. We thought babies slept when they were tired and stayed awake when they were not. We knew nothing about sleep cycles, sleep associations, overtiredness, optimal wake windows, tired cues, the number of naps per day, appropriate nap durations, etc. We… knew… nothing.

I learned a lot in my research, but Haera’s sleep wasn’t getting better. We had resorted to holding her for ALL her naps (every… single… one…). The routine always started with a really long rocking and ssshing session that progressed to a careful transition into the rocking recliner. She slept on top of our chests. We used the pacifier and reinserted it constantly. We rocked the chair when she stirred. For nighttime, I went to bed with Haera between 5:30-6PM and had her nursing ALL night long in the most uncomfortable positions. She would sleep for 30 minutes, then wake for 2 hours, then sleep for 30 minutes to 1.5 hours and wake, then nurse, then sleep then wake if she became unlatched, etc. I’d try to use the pacifier, which worked about 25% of the time. It went on like this for 2.5 months.

My husband and I never saw each other, and the only way we communicated each other was through texting… By the time he came home from work, I was already “in bed” with Haera. Steve has been the most supportive husband and father, but there was only so much that he could do to help. Haera felt that she needed ME to sleep. I was beyond stressed, and at the time, I thought I was doing what any mom or dad would do. Desperate times called for desperate measures. Needless to say, my dedication to Haera’s sleep turned me into a very unhappy, frustrated person.

The Baby Sleep Site: Oh my goodness, Yeyin – this sounds horrible! No wonder you were feeling so desperate! What did you do next?

Yeyin: I finally contacted a local sleep consultant when Haera turned 4 months. She gave us instructions on how to approach our first night of cry-it-out leep training, and I couldn’t do it. I had a full-blown panic attack and came very close to vomiting from all the anxiety. So, I had to leave the house and implored Steve to stay with Haera. She cried for TWO HOURS until she couldn’t cry any more. The second night, she cried for an hour, and every night after that she cried, and cried, and cried. This accounts only for the crying that was at the beginning of the night, too. There was so much more crying in the middle of the night.

Me & 5 month Haera KimHow could this be okay? I asked myself this every single night. I hated myself for making my baby cry. I hated everything about the sleep training we were doing. Fast-forward 10 days: I was done. I was done with sleep training. The crying never got easier, and we did everything CONSISTENTLY. We couldn’t rely on our sleep consultant anymore, and I found myself unable to letdown while nursing anymore from all of the anxiety. I just couldn’t listen to our baby cry ANYMORE, so we stopped following the strict rules and guidelines. I was done, done, done. I didn’t go back to co-sleeping, but I went back to responding to my baby, picking her up, comforting her, nursing her, etc.

But, after ONE WEEK, I was in despair again. The crying before bedtime improved, but the crying following the first night waking (after 30 minutes to an hour of sleep) was particularly blood curdling. I just didn’t understand why our little one was crying so much after having gone to bed somewhat peacefully. I still had so many questions and doubts, but I didn’t want to go back to our original sleep consultant. Our philosophies and expectations just didn’t match up.

The Baby Sleep Site: This must have been such a hard time for you, Yeyin. Please tell me that the next move you made was to contact us!

Yeyin: It was! I finally decided to reach out to The Baby Sleep Site®. I had been perusing their website long enough to be aware their philosophies, and I had nothing to lose with their guarantee. This proved to be the single most effective, and BEST, decision I made with regards to Haera’s sleep.

I had signed up for the 30-day unlimited email package. It was the best value for us because I knew we needed extra time to work on Haera’s sleep, and the “unlimited” emails and responsiveness was something I felt would fit our family’s needs the best.

We were assigned to Nicole who graciously and kindly wrote to us that very evening and gave me some quick advice: Try to change her schedule THAT night. It was simply a moving her bedtime later and treating her current bedtime as a nap. She needed a bit more time to author our Personalized Sleep Plan, but skimming through our initial history intake form, she suspected that Haera was treating bedtime as a fourth nap and then waking up crying for such a long period of time because she was actually AWAKE. It broke our hearts. Why didn’t our first sleep consultant help us with this? She was the one who actually told us to pull bedtime to an earlier time and to “expect a lot of crying,” while Nicole told us to do the opposite and with much, much less crying. From the very start, through a simple email, Nicole changed our lives forever. Our sweet Haera no longer had to suffer through such an incredible and overwhelming amount of crying.

The Baby Sleep Site: Yep, Nicole’s pretty great like that! So you were off to a good start….what happened next?

Yeyin: Within a day or two, our Personalized Sleep Plan™ arrived, and it was so thorough and warm. The name of the publication service is justifiably and well named because it was indeed a sleep plan PERSONALIZED to our philosophies and to Haera’s needs. I still use our Personalized Sleep Plan™ today for advice and strategies.

From that day forward, I corresponded with Nicole each and every day. Haera needed a lot of work. We made a lot of progress in the beginning with changing Haera’s schedule, and then there was the “tweaking” we needed to do based on Haera’s temperament. Nicole has such an amazing skillset: To be in sync with babies. She explained what sort of temperament she suspected Haera had and based our sleep coaching approach to Haera’s individuals’ needs. The most awesome thing about Nicole is her empathy. She would say things like, “Me, too,” and that was all the validation I needed to feel sane and motivated to keep going.

Me & 6 month Haera KimSometimes (a lot of times), I would vent and write to Nicole in the middle of the night worried and wondering about why Haera was so inconsistent, strong-willed, etc., and Nicole would reply back every day and say she was sorry to hear we were having a bad day, BUT to keep on going and to hang in there! She was the best cheerleader I could ever ask for, and never ever did I ever feel second priority. I always felt like I was her one and only client, and I know that’s not the case. I can’t imagine how incredibly busy Nicole is juggling her responsibilities to The Baby Sleep Site, her clients, and her family! She is an amazing woman!

So, with Nicole’s help, we worked on bedtime and naptime. We went from me going to bed in the worst-case scenario (i.e., going to bed with our little one at 5:30PM, rocking/swaying/walking her in the middle of the night for HOURS, nursing all night long, popping in the pacifier when I couldn’t take the soreness of nursing anymore) to the BEST-CASE scenario (i.e., sleeping through the night with a feeding or two in the middle and no more dreamfeeds). We rearranged Haera’s schedule and shifted more of her day sleep to her night sleep. It turned out we were holding her for her naps for TOO long during the day, which interfered with how much she could sleep at night. We would have NEVER figured that out without Nicole’s help. Although Haera was still waking up at night, Nicole assured us that this was all within normal range. She was waking due to hunger and not because of an association, and learning that Haera was “within normal” relieved some of the built up pressure and made everything a bit more manageable.

The Baby Sleep Site: Awesome!!! Your progress is especially amazing, considering where you started.

Yeyin: It is! Today, Haera’s sleep is far from perfect, but the one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from Nicole is that THAT IS OKAY. Haera’s temperament is not built like other babies who adapt well, who are consistent, who only fuss and whimper and do not wail out and scream their little, beautiful heads off. Haera is one-of-a-kind. So, although her sleep isn’t a model example of what an ideal sleeping baby should look like, Haera has made stark improvements from where she was to where is today. ALL babies are different, and Haera is no exception.

In all of the countless emails Nicole and I have exchanged, the most significant and poignant lesson I’ve learned was that I WAS NOT ALONE. This lesson alone has made the dealing with all the hardships, listening to all the hysterical crying, surviving all the sleep deprivation, and wondering if it would ever get better more bearable. In fact, sometimes I feel quite liberated in knowing that I am not alone. I was kinder to myself and allowed myself to feel frustrated, down, and upset and know that I am still a good mom! Nicole has always made sure to remind me of that!

Although I’m not in correspondence with Nicole right now, I still have email packages that I have bought to use for future use, so my time with Nicole and the Baby Sleep Site is far from over. During the time I am not in contact with Nicole, I use the resources in the Members Area section to help me navigate through the various changes Haera has been experiencing in her current 8/9/10 month regression-related sleep. The teleseminars and case studies were particularly helpful in guiding me in Haera’s current sleep situation.

The Baby Sleep Site: You are one prepared mama, Yeyin! I love that! Okay, before we wrap up – any parting words for our readers?

Yeyin: What else can I say about Nicole and The Baby Sleep Site? They RESCUED, REVIVED, and SAVED our lives… but most importantly and most tenderly, they saved our sweet, darling Haera.

Amazing! Thanks to ongoing support from Nicole, and her caring, compassionate advice, Yeyin’s whole family will be sleeping easier this holiday season. And you can, too! Remember, you can have your own sleep coaching success story, just like Yeyin’s – all you have to do is take that first step, and contact us for personalized sleep help today!

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Next up, we have Nadia and her cutie-patootie little guy, Isaac. Nadia has been a client of The Baby Sleep Site&reg’ for 11 – yes, that’s eleven – months. So to say that she’d had experience with our consultation process would be a bit of an understatement! 😉 Today, Nadia’s family is sleeping well, but that was by no means the case 11 months ago…back then, Nadia and her husband were losing their minds over how to get Isaac to sleep. That’s when they decided they need professional help with Isaac’s sleep. Keep reading to find out what happened!

Baby Sleep Site: Nadia, tell us what Isaac’s sleep was like before you contacted us.

Nadia1Nadia: I first contacted the site for help back in November of 2013. My son, who was about 3 months at the time, suddenly became a cat napper-he needed to be rocked to go down for a nap, which usually consisted of holding him, bouncing or walking, and carrying him in a sling.  Sometimes we had to carry and bounce him in the car seat. It was weird, because up until he was about 6 weeks old, he napped 2-3 hours at time for his naps. Then, all of a sudden, he would be up, on the dot, at the 30 minute mark. You could set your clock to it! He’d wake up cranky and fussing. It drove us both nuts!
 
And bedtime was even worse.  I would rock or nurse Isaac down and he would fall asleep for the first 30 minutes, and sleep very deeply – but then he’d wake up. I would re-rock him down, often in a sling, swaddled, and he would drift off again.  I would sit with him another 30 minutes to ensure he was deeply asleep.  Then, and only then, I would transfer him out of the sling into the bed, where he would sleep for approximately 4-5 hours, wake up to nurse, and I would have to start the process all over again.  Simply put, it was exhausting for us all.

Baby Sleep Site: Nadia, this does sound tough. :( I know so many of our readers have been here – but that doesn’t mean it’s easy when you’re the one dealing with the sleep drama, all night and all day! 
 

Nadia2Nadia: Exactly! That’s when I decided I needed help, and I contacted The Baby Sleep Site®. Nicole whipped out a wonderful plan for Isaac, which required that first, he learn to go to sleep on his own. The plan worked, and within short 3 days, Isaac was falling asleep on his own! Nicole and I worked and tweaked the plan almost daily. I would write her daily updates (I had an unlimited e-mail package), and she would offer a lot of suggestions and support. Eventually, bedtime became a breeze – Isaac would fall asleep on his own and sleep peacefully until it was his time to nurse. And we worked on slowly weaning Isaac away from his night feedings, too.

 

The Baby Sleep Site: How awesome, Nadia! So excited that you’ve made such good progress!

Nadia: We really have! It took awhile, but the work has been worth it. Nicole went as ‘fast’ or ‘slow’ as I wanted through the whole process.  She also supported me through the transition from nanny, to a large daycare center, to an inhome daycare center, through a move to a new house, and finally, through a transition to an inhome daycare center #2. And that doesn’t even count al the help she gave me in dealing with illness and teething! She truly was there for me through it all – every day, I would email and every day, she would email me back. All told, I purchased months worth of unlimited email packages, and it was all worth it!

The Baby Sleep Site: Oh, Nadia – that’s so wonderful to hear!  
 

Nadia3Nadia: Now, after all of our work together, Isaac’s sleep is wonderful. He goes down by himself after a quick bath and nursing session at 8, and he sleeps the whole night! He takes on long, 2.5-3 hour nap in the afternoon (no more 30-minute cat-naps!). He is a happy boy, who is very active, and loves to hang out and talk to himself in his crib, without calling for mama.  I am now sleeping much better too! Looking back, I realize now that I learned so much from Nicole. Had it not been for her never-ending support and words of encouragement, I would have lost it by now. No joke. :) Nicole saved my baby’s sleep, my marriage and my sanity. I could not have done ANY of this without her, and I would recommend her to any mother who is struggling like I was. Throughout all of the ups and downs that the last year has brought, sleep-wise, knowing I had an expert to consult with every day was my piece of sanity – and it was worth WAY more than any the money I spent on my consultations! What she does for exhausted parents – and what she did for me – is priceless.

Wow, right! Talk about a big change! Thanks to unlimited support from our team of consultants, Nadia and her family are looking forward to a peaceful, rested holiday season. And while most families won’t need months of unlimited support, how nice it is to know that if that’s the kind of help YOU need, we offer it! We really will go as fast or as slow as you’d like, and we’re willing to stick with you through every step of the sleep coaching process – even it if happens to take you months to reach your goals. 😉

Remember, you can have your own sleep coaching success story, just like Nadia’s – all you have to do is take that first step, and contact us for personalized sleep help today!

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10 Bedtime Story Books You Can Turn Into Sleep Training Tools

Bedtime Books Sleep Training Tools

We’ve already said a lot (A LOT) on this site about bedtime – including when exactly bedtime should happen. We’ve also written a ton about bedtime routines – what bedtime routines should (and shouldn’t) look like, why a bedtime routine is key to sleep coaching, and more.

But here’s a part of most parents’ bedtime routines that goes overlooked as a sleep training tool: the bedtime story book. Sure, most of us probably spend at least a few minutes reading to our little cherubs before tucking them in at night, but have you ever stopped and thought about how you can turn the bedtime story to your (sleep training) advantage?

You can.

Now, that’s not to say that you have to choose special “sleep-focused” books at bedtime – there’s a lot to be said for simply reading a good book to your kiddo, regardless of whether or not it mentions sleep! Reading is hands-down the best way to establish early literacy, and it makes for pretty fantastic parent-child bonding time, too.

But if you’re sleep coaching, you no doubt want to utilize every tool at your disposal to help the process along – and the bedtime books you choose can be powerful tools indeed. Read on for details!

10 Bedtime Books You Can Turn Into Great Sleep Coaching Tools

Unknown-6 BOOK: Goodnight Moon – by Margaret Wise Brown

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: A bedtime book classic! Little bunny bids “good night” to everything in his room, before peacefully drifting off to sleep himself.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: Have a toddler who’s fighting off bedtime? Saying “good night” to the things she encounters as she goes through her bedtime routine is actually a powerful way to help signal that it’s time to go to sleep. It’s also a way for your toddler to mentally reassure herself that everything else in her life (and in her room) is going to sleep too – so she’s not missing anything. 😉 And this is a great book for babies, too – the simple illustrations and primary colors provide great visual appeal for infants!

 
Unknown-5 BOOK: A Book of Sleep – by Il Sung Na

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: A wide-awake little owl swoops through this beautifully-illustrated book and watches all the other animals settle down (and snuggle down) for sleep.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: If you have your own “wide-awake” little watchful owl at bedtime, this book is a great resource! As your child watches how all the animals sleep in their own special way, it can provide big reassurance that bedtime really is for sleeping. And if your toddler has a unique bedtime arrangement (maybe he has to sleep with three or four of the same special stuffed friends each night?), then he can take pride in knowing that just like the animals, he has his own special way of sleeping. Babies will love this book, too – especially if you’re working on teaching your baby animal names and sounds.

 
Unknown-4 BOOK: Sleep Like A Tiger – by Mary Logue

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: A feisty little girl lets her parents know in no uncertain terms that she is not – positively not – tired. Her loving parents convince her that bed really is the place for her, and a colorful parade of animals follows, as these ingenious parents convince their little one to “sleep like a tiger”.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: Who among us HASN’T had a bedtime-avoider on their hands? The “I’m not tired!” line is a favorite among most toddlers. Well, this book is a great choice for the bedtime avoider in your house. Through this story and it’s gorgeous illustrations, your toddler will learn that it’s okay to have a feisty spirit, but that bedtime can be an exciting and imaginative time, too!

 
Unknown-3 BOOK: Where Do Diggers Sleep At Night? – by Brianna Caplan Sayres

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: An adorable look at where the big “diggers” sleep at night – this one is quite similar to Good Night, Good Night, Construction Site.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: For the wee truck-lover in your life! If you have a little one who loves heavy machinery in your home, this book is sure to be a hit. As your child watches the beloved trucks and diggers go peacefully to bed, odds are bedtime will start to seem more appealing to your little guy or little girl, too!

 
Unknown-2 BOOK: Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go To Sleep – by Joyce Dunbar

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: Little Willa is scared to go to sleep – good thing her big brother Willoughby is there to tell her something happy before she goes to sleep!

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: Bedtime fears and fear of the dark are very real for toddlers – and it’s very possible that at some point during the sleep coaching process, your little one will suddenly become scared at bedtime. This book is a great solution to that problem! Willa’s “happy thoughts” before bed can become your child’s – or, after the book is done, come up with some happy thoughts of your own! As for babies, they’re sure to love the snuggly bunny characters in this sweet little book.

 
Unknown-1 BOOK: It’s Time To Sleep, My Love – by Nancy Tillman

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: Mama animals gently put their babies to sleep in this fantastic book, complete with gorgeous, lush illustrations.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: It can really help your little one to know that when it’s her bedtime, lots of other things are going to bed, too – including animals! The soft, lilting rhymes of this book will lull even the youngest babies to sleep, and the message that everything around the world is going to bed can go a long way to helping your baby or toddler settle down and fall asleep without a fuss.

 
Unknown BOOK: Simpson’s Sheep Won’t Go To Sleep! – by Bruce Arent

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: Simpson’s sheep need to go to sleep – but they just won’t! Between yakking and stalling and needing to “go”, these sheep are pro bedtime stalkers.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: Have a bedtime staller on your hands? Then this is the book for you! By the end, you and your toddler will be rolling over the sheep’s stall tactics, and will be chanting together, “Go to sleep, sheep!” This is a great way for toddlers to see how silly bedtime stalling can look from a different perspective, and will hopefully help you make progress towards smoother bedtimes yourselves.

 
Unknown-7BOOK: Sleep Is For Everyone – by Paul Showers

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: This little books presents great, basic information about why living things need sleep, and takes a look at how animals sleep, how people sleep, how sleep affects our brains, and more.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: Have a little budding scientist at home who constantly asks, “But why?” I can relate! If your little one just needs to know the “why” behind why she has to go to sleep, you’ll want to grab a copy of this book. It presents the basics about why sleep is important in a straightforward, easy-to-understand way. This book will definitely help convince your little bedtime skeptic that sleep matters, and that can help make sleep coaching even easier on both of you!

 
Unknown-8BOOK: Bedtime – by Elizabeth Verdick

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: Watch a toddler go through his bedtime routine with his family, from brushing teeth to taking a bath to lullabies and snuggles.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: Toddlers will be reassured that yes, bedtime is normal and everyone is doing it when they watch the character in the story go through his bedtime routine with mom and dad, and snuggle down happily into bed. Modeling good bedtime behavior and cooperation is a great way to help show your toddler exactly what’s expected of him at bedtime, and this book does exactly that – it provides a positive model of what bedtime should look like. A great tool to add to your sleep coaching arsenal! And babies can get a lot out of this book, too – after all, it’s never too late to start modeling good bedtime behavior, and establishing a strong bedtime routine! Note that this book is one in a series called “Toddler Tools” – check out their other books on meal-times, nap time, clean-up time, and more.

 
Unknown-9BOOK: Nursies When The Sun Shines – by Katerhine C. Havener

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: An adorable breastfeeding toddler learns that nighttime is for sleeping, and that “nursies” happen when during the day, when the sun shines.

WHY IT’S A GREAT SLEEP TRAINING TOOL: A FABULOUS book for co-sleeping parents who are working on weaning an older baby or toddler away from nighttime nursing. A client actually recommended this one to us awhile back, and said it was a lifesaver in her home! If you are working on night weaning as part of your sleep coaching, this book will be a great tool for you – it’s designed to help even young toddlers understand when it’s time to nurse, and when it’s time to sleep.

Get Sleep Training Help From The Baby Sleep Site®

A great arsenal of bedtime books can be a big help in your sleep training endeavors – but you’ll need more than bedtime stories to help your baby or toddler learn to fall asleep peacefully at bedtime and sleep through the night. You’ll need us! Let our team of expert sleep consultants craft a Personalized Sleep Plan™ just for you, that’s personalized to your family and that’ll walk you through every step of sleep coaching.

Browse our list of consultation package options here.

Once you make your choice and purchase, you will immediately receive an e-mail with your Helpdesk login information. You’ll be able to login and start your Family Sleep History form right away – it’s that simple!

Want more information about how personalized help works? Check out our FAQ page here, and get answers. You can also take a tour of the Helpdesk.

This is by no means an exhaustive list – we want to hear about your favorite bedtime books! Share your recommendations in the comments below, and help us expand our list!

 
bss_email_featprod_memberspic-CROPPEDOur Members Area is packed with exclusive content and resources: e-Books, assessments, detailed case studies, expert advice, peer support, and more. It actually costs less to join than buying products separately! As a member, you’ll also enjoy a weekly chat with an expert sleep consultant. And the best part – members receive 20% off all sleep consultation services!
 
bss_ebook_masteringnaps_leftIf you’re looking for ways to get your baby or toddler into a healthy sleeping routine during the day, I encourage you to explore Mastering Naps and Schedules, a comprehensive guide to napping routines, nap transitions, and all the other important “how-tos” of good baby sleep. With over 45 sample sleep schedules and planning worksheets, Mastering Naps and Schedules is a hands-on tool ideal for any parenting style.
 
bss_ebook_3stepsystem_leftFor those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3 Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your baby sleep through the night.
 
 
bss_ebook_5steptoddler_smalFor those persistent toddler sleep struggles, check out The 5 Step System to Help Your Toddler Sleep. Using the same unique approach and practical tools for success, this e-book helps you and your toddler sleep through the night and enjoy a better daytime schedule.
 

Disclosure: The Amazon links above are affiliate links. If you opt to purchase one of these books, The Baby Sleep Site® may receive a small commission from your purchase. This will not affect your purchase price. We only recommend those products that we feel are good resources for our readers.